Over the past year, I’ve been putting a lot of effort into becoming more sustainable and ethical in my purchasing choices. I still have a little way to go, but since embarking on this minimalism journey I’ve found that I’ve saved a lot of money, been much less stressed, and I’ve been helping the environment at the same time. So, here are 30 things I don’t buy anymore.
The first thing I don’t buy anymore is kitchen towel. Kitchen towel is just one of those things that I’ve always used because it’s just been the norm? I always bought kitchen towel because I’ve never thought not to. I’ve bought a Minky that I use all the time for cleaning, and when I’ve finished with him I just wash him and use again, instead of throwing away loads of kitchen towel.
Fabric Softener is another thing I’ve always used because I’ve been taught to. But I recently stopped buying it and I’ve not noticed a difference in the way my clothes feel.
This isn’t to say I’m never going to buy clothes again, but I’m trying to not buy into fast fashion. Instead, I’m going to focus more on buying clothes that I’m going to wear time and time again. After doing a massive declutter of my wardrobe a couple of years ago, I realised that so many of my pieces were only one-time clothes and I rarely wore things more than once. I’m now trying to be a lot more mindful of my purchases. If I know it’s a good quality item I’m going to wear a lot and is comfortable and practical, I don’t feel bad about buying it. I’m also getting into buying things second hand as it saves a lot of money and it’s better for the environment. The same thing also applies to shoes and accessories.
Again, I’m not going to stop buying makeup, but I’m going to focus all my energy into buying only the makeup I actually need, from ethical brands that I want to support. In the past, I was terrible for having dozens of lipsticks, blushes, eyeshadows etc that I never wore and kept because I didn’t want to waste them even know I knew they’d never get used.
Unnecessary Home Decor
It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for homeware. But from now on I’m going to try and limit what I buy in that department. If I can justify the purchase (and not just “it brings me joy”), and it serves a purpose or I know where it’s going to go, then I can justify buying it. This also includes purchasing good quality items that aren’t going to break or I will get bored of after a while. I remember a while ago buying a small red elephant. My home isn’t very red or very elephanty, so god knows what I was thinking when I bought it. Needless to say, the poor little red elephant didn’t last long.
Artificially Scented Things
This includes plug-in sprays, room sprays, etc. Most of them are full of harsh chemicals and there are much better ways to make your home smell nice. If you can find a nice, natural version of the above, then great. You could also try making your own!
Smoothies or Juices
Most people have a blender, right? I always try to avoid buying smoothies and juices because, not only are they full of sugar, I can make my own in my Nutribullet. Why not pop to your local market and pick up some cheap fruits to turn into juice? (Also, freshly squeezed juice from oranges is THE BEST THING EVER).
Hands up if you also own ten thousand mugs? I am a complete sucker for a cute mug, but I usually end up buying them to photograph on Instagram then never actually use it for it’s intended purpose. From now on, I’m only going to buy news mugs if I really need them.
I recently invested in a menstrual cup, and I have no idea why I didn’t do it sooner! They are better for the environment, better for your body, and not to mention better for your wallet in the long run. I went for the OrganiCup, but there are many other brands available. If you aren’t sure whether a menstrual cup is for you, you can always lessen your impact on the environment by switching to organic tampons and sanitary towels to start with.
Oh god makeup wipes are just awful aren’t they? I see no positives with them, only that perhaps they are convenient when travelling. But that’s literally it. They are bad for the planet and bad for your skin. I now use the Body Shop’s Sumptuous Chamomile Butter and a flannel. Not only is my skin a lot happier, but I also don’t have to throw anything away.
Specific Cleaning Products
If you take a stroll down the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket, you’ll find a cleaner for just about anything. Sinks, showers, bathrooms, tiles, floors, windows, surfaces, oven, where does it end? While it’s great to have some cleaning products for the more stubborn places, I believe there’s not much you can’t clean with some bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice, and cider vinegar. Which leads me onto my next point…
Toxic Cleaning Products
Why would you want all those chemicals in your home!? It’s fine to have a select few such as bleach for your toilets or a strong oven cleaner etc, but switching to more natural brands such as Method or Zoflora can make such a difference. (These brands are also cruelty-free, and pet safe). Personally I see that as a good excuse to buy every Zoflora scent you can find! Another great brand I often use is Astonish, which are both vegan & cruelty-free.
Who even uses plastic straws any more? There are so many alternatives available, such as bamboo or metal. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought plastic straws. Do they even still sell them?
Admittedly, this is a work in progress. But lately, I’ve been trying to cut down on the amount of sugar I buy and consume. I read the Sweet Poison book and it made me aware of how much sugar is in everything we consume, and it made me want to try to cut down. I managed to give up squash and fizzy drinks, and instead of buying sauces in jars I always try to make my own where I can. Obviously there’s not much I can do about natural sugars (no way am I giving up fruit!), so I’m just focusing on added sugars for now.
Some* gadgets. If they serve a purpose and make my life easier, then sure. Last year I bought a manual food chopper from HomeSense, and I…haven’t used it since. I used it a couple of times after buying it, but you still have to pre-chop any veg you put in. Then you have to take it apart and clean it afterwards. So, in the long run, it doesn’t actually save any time or washing up.
Jars of Sauce
As I mentioned above, most sauces that come in jars are full of sugar and other additives. I try to avoid buying them now as I always prefer making my own. Not only is it cheaper, but once you manage to crack a good sauce recipe it’s so satisfying! I also like to reuse the jars I do buy, so even if I do buy jars here and there, they aren’t going to be a one-time use.
Another popular one here, but did you know that every plastic toothbrush ever made is still on this planet? There are loads of better options available, such as bamboo, or even just buying an electric toothbrush. You still need to dispose of the heads, but this is still a better option than a regular plastic toothbrushes because the heads last longer.
Since I learned how to fold my clothes properly thanks to the KonMari method, I don’t use anywhere near as many clothes hangers as I used to. If this is something you buy regularly, try switching to wooden or metal hangers.
This past winter, I put myself on a heating ban. Ok, a ban sounds quite extreme, but I limited our thermostat to no higher than 20 degrees. I get cold very easily and it was very hard at first, but I did eventually get used to it. And it meant I could purchase a few more cute jumpers so that’s always good right? We’ve definitely seen a difference in our heating bill, so it’s been worth it.
I do have occasional slip-ups with this one, but I try to put the blinkers on whenever I go to pay for anything because there’s always impulse purchases waiting to happen at the checkouts.
Plastic Kitchen Tools
I try to keep plastic out of my kitchen at all times, and this includes cooking and serving utensils. Whenever I buy anything for the kitchen now, I make sure it’s either metal, wood, or bamboo.
Another very popular choice, but I no longer buy plastic bags. I always keep a small canvas tote bag in my handbag, so whenever I buy anything I use that instead of purchasing a plastic bag.
Disposable Plastic Razors & Shaving Cream
Ladies, I’m going to let you in on a secret – men’s razors are much better than women’s razors. The shave is so much better. I have a metal one and I love it. And instead of buying shaving cream I run my hands over my hair in the shower, and then apply some of the conditioner from my hair onto my legs before I shave.
CDs and DVDs
I’ve never really been much of a film person so DVD’s have never been much of a problem. And we pay a monthly subscription for Apple Music so all our music is also electronic. My husband likes the idea of having shelves full of DVD’s, but the thought of a whole wall full of plastic gives me a headache. Also, with Netflix and other streaming platforms now, there’s no need to buy CDs and DVDs anymore.
Poor Quality Tech
I just don’t see the point of buying something cheap (usually) and having to replace it after a few months because it breaks or just isn’t very good. I’d much rather invest a bit more money into something that’s going to last years.
My only exception here is fridge magnets, or if I see something that I’ve been wanting anyway. For example, I’ve been wanting a macrame wall hanging for such a long time. I’m going to India next year, and I just know there are going to be loads at the markets, so I will likely come home with something like that. What I don’t buy is things like keychains, decorative plates, etc.
Travel books are a bit of a pet peeve of mine. I admit that they are a great source of factual information, but I’d much rather read about other people’s thoughts and experiences on travel and the countries they’d visited. That way you get up-to-date, non-biased information. If you have any questions you can always message them and ask – you might make a new friend! Whenever I’m going away, the first place I head to in Pinterest to look for blog posts and travel diaries for wherever I’m going. I’ve gotten so many great tips from reading blog posts with information I couldn’t have gotten from a travel book. If you are like me, why not head over to my travel section to read about the places I’ve been?
I haven’t really documented this on my blog yet, but in April 2018 I went vegan. Cutting out animal products has honestly been the best thing I’ve ever done, and I feel so much healthier for it. It’s also cut the cost of our food shop dramatically, and improved my cooking and baking tenfold. I’ve made some amazing friends who are also vegan and I can’t believe I didn’t do it sooner. If you don’t want to make the switch to fully vegan, start by switching up your cow’s milk to plant milk or have a vegetarian/vegan meal once a week. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
Who buys bottled water anymore!? There are so many reusable travel mugs and flasks out there I can’t imagine ever buying bottled water. I have a glass flask from Home Bargains, it costs me all of £1.99, and I love it. I take it everywhere I go and I can’t imagine my life without it.
This includes packets of salads and fruits etc. I always try to make my own to save on plastic packaging. It’s more hassle, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run.
What do you not buy anymore?
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